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The 4 Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

No two marital relationships are the same, and so it just follows that no 2 divorces will be the same, either.

If you’re a woman who’s pondering divorce, you have a number of choices about how to proceed. In general terms, you need to think about four broad categories of divorce alternatives: Do-It-Yourself (DIY), Mediation, Collaborative and Litigation. Let’s take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of every one.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce

The best recommendations I can provide you about Do-It-Yourself Divorce, is DON’T Do-It-Yourself!

The only circumstance I can imagine when a Do-It-Yourself divorce may make any possible sense, may be in a case where the marriage lasted just two or 3 years and there are no children, little or no assets/debts to be divided, comparable incomes and no spousal support. In a case like that, a Diy divorce could be accomplished rather quickly and inexpensively.


In divorce mediation, a separating couple works with a neutral conciliator who assists both parties come to a contract on all aspects of their divorce. Both parties still require to consult with their own, individual lawyers throughout the mediation and prior to signing the last divorce settlement arrangement.

Here are a couple of pros and cons to think about prior to deciding if mediation will work for you.

On the “pro” side, divorce mediation may:

  • Result in a better long-term relationship with your ex-husband because you will not “combat” in court.
  • Be easier on children given that the divorce procedures may be more serene.
  • Expedite an arrangement.
  • Reduce expenditures.
  • Help you remain in control of your divorce because you are deciding (and the court isn’t).
  • Permit more discretion. Mediation is private; litigated divorce is public.

On the “con” side, divorce mediation may:

  • Waste time and cash. If settlements stop working, you’ll need to start all over.
  • Be incomplete or unduly beneficial to one spouse. If the mediator is inexperienced or prejudiced towards your other half, the outcome could be unfavorable for you.
  • Lead to an unenforceable contract. A mediation agreement that’s lopsided or badly prepared can be challenged.
  • Cause legal issues. Any issue of law will still need to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to uncover certain properties. Since all financial details is willingly divulged and there is no subpoena of records, your spouse could possibly hide assets/income.
  • Enhance unhealthy behavior patterns. If one spouse is controling and the other is submissive, the last settlement may not be fair.
  • Fuel feelings. Mediation could increase negative habits of a partner with a propensity for physical/mental or drugs/alcohol abuse.

Couples typically hear about the wonders of mediation and how it is reportedly a better, less controversial, less pricey and more “dignified” method to get a divorce. My greatest problem with mediation is that the sole role and goal of the conciliator is to get the celebrations to come to a contract– any arrangement! Unless both parties can be fairly affordable and friendly (and if they can be, why are they getting separated???), I think that mediation is normally not a feasible choice for most ladies.

Collaborative Divorce

Simply put, collaborative divorce happens when a couple accepts exercise a divorce settlement without going to court.

During a collaborative divorce both you and your partner will each hire a lawyer who has actually been trained in the collective divorce process. The function of the attorneys in a collaborative divorce is quite different than in a conventional divorce.

In the collective process, you, your hubby and your particular attorneys all must sign a contract that requires that both attorneys withdraw from the case if a settlement is not reached and/or if litigation is threatened. If this happens, both you and your other half need to start all over again and discover brand-new attorneys. Neither party can use the exact same attorneys once again!

Even if the collaborative process achieves success, you will usually have to appear in family court so a judge can sign the agreement. But the legal process can be much quicker and cheaper than standard litigation if the collaborative procedure works.

Unfortunately, however, I have found that the collaborative method frequently does not work well to settle divorces including complex monetary situations or when there are substantial assets. In collective divorce, just as in mediation, all financial information (earnings, assets and liabilities) is revealed voluntarily. Frequently the hubby manages the “purse strings,” and the better half is usually uninformed of the information of their monetary situation. When this type of inequality exists, the door is typically wide open for the hubby to hide assets. What’s more, lots of high net worth divorces include businesses and professional practices where it is relatively easy to conceal properties and earnings. Additionally, the issue of evaluation can be quite contentious.

So … as a basic rule, my recommendation is this:

Do NOT use any of these very first three alternatives– Do-It-Yourself Divorce, Mediation or Collaborative Divorce– if:

  • You presume your other half is hiding assets/income.
  • Your spouse is aggressive, and you have problem speaking out or you’re afraid to voice your opinions.
  • There is a history or threat of domestic violence (physical and/or mental) towards you and/or your children.
  • You or your other half has a drug/alcohol dependency.

Litigated Divorce

The 4th divorce alternative is the most typical. Nowadays, the majority of separating couples select the “conventional” design of litigated divorce.

Keep in mind, however, “prosecuted” does not suggest the divorce winds up in court. In fact, the huge majority of all divorce cases (more than 95 percent) reach an out-of-court settlement contract. “Litigation” is a legal term meaning ‘carrying out a lawsuit.’

In 80 percent of cases, the choice to divorce is unilateral– one celebration wants the divorce and the other does not. That, by its very nature, develops an adversarial circumstance right from the start and typically disqualifies mediation and collaborative divorce, considering that both approaches rely on the complete cooperation of both parties and the voluntary disclosure of all financial info.

Plainly, if you are starting out with an adversarial and extremely mentally charged circumstance, the possibilities are extremely high that partnership or mediation may fail. Why take the threat of going those paths when chances are they might stop working, losing your money and time?

The most important and most hard parts of any divorce are concerning a contract on child custody, division of possessions and liabilities and alimony payments (how much and for for how long). You desire your lawyer to be a highly knowledgeable negotiator, you don’t desire somebody who is extremely combative, ready to fight over anything and whatever. An extremely controversial method will not just prolong the pain and considerably increase your legal charges, it will likewise be emotionally detrimental to everybody included, particularly the children.

Keep in mind: A lot of divorce attorneys (or at least the ones I would recommend) will constantly aim to come to an affordable settlement with the other celebration. However if they can’t concern a reasonable settlement or if the other party is totally unreasonable then, regrettably, litigating, or threatening to do so, might be the only way to deal with these problems.

If you have attempted whatever else, and you do wind up in court, things can get really nasty and hostile. Up till that point both attorneys were “arbitrators,” attempting to get the celebrations to compromise and pertain to some sensible resolution. As soon as in court, the function of each attorney modifications. Settlements and compromise relocate to the back burner. Their brand-new task is to “win” and get the best possible outcome for their customer.

And do not forget, once you’re in court, it’s a judge who understands really little about you and your family that will make the decisions about your kids, your residential or commercial property, your cash and how you live your life. That’s a very big risk for both celebrations to take– and that’s likewise why the hazard of litigating is generally such a great deterrent.

Here’s my last word of guidance about divorce alternatives: Weigh divorce options carefully. The bottom line is that every family, and every divorce, is different. Obviously, if you have the ability to work with your partner to make decisions and both of you are honest and reasonable, then mediation or the collective approach might be best. But, if you have doubts, it is good to be all set with “Plan B” which would be the litigated divorce.

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